Manchester Airports Group – MAG – the UK’s leading airport group, today reports continued growth as increased revenues, passenger numbers push up profits and revenue up to £508.5m
MAG passenger numbers have increased by 3.8%** year-on-year to 35.7m, driven by strong growth at London Stansted Airport, including the launch of a new Emirates service, and robust performance at Manchester Airport.
Manchester Airport celebrated its 80th birthday in the period, with a range of activity to mark the milestone involving colleagues, customers and communities. It also made strong progress on its £1bn transformation programme with the first phases set to be delivered on time in Spring 2019.
Manchester Airport had a resilient summer with passenger numbers of 16.6m in the six month to 30 September, supported by a resurgence in summer traffic to Turkey and the successful backfilling of capacity previously operated by Monarch.
The period saw Manchester Airport continue to grow its long haul offering. In May Thomas Cook Airlines started flights to Seattle. The same month Jet Airways announced a route to Mumbai (launched November) and Ethiopian Airlines a service to Addis Ababa (launches 11th December). In addition, carriers including Jet2.com, easyJet and Ryanair all added capacity and frequency at the UK’s third largest airport.
London Stansted Airport saw passenger numbers in the first half of the year continue to climb strongly and at East Midlands Airport, DHL and UPS are expanding their operations, consolidating the airport’s position as the most important hub for cargo aircraft in the UK and a key component of the ‘Midlands Engine’. Passenger traffic at East Midlands was flat (-0.3%) at 3.2m in the first half of the year.
MAG is well positioned to meet growing demand for air travel across the UK, which will be vital to providing global connectivity Post-Brexit. MAG welcomes recent clear and positive commitments from the UK Government and the EU to enable airlines to maintain flights, even in a no deal scenario.
MAG is now calling for Government to commit to improving links to nationally significant airports, including Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands, as a core part of its forthcoming Aviation Strategy.
In the last year, activity at MAG’s airports across the UK, at Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands contributed £7.8bn of economic value for UK PLC and for the communities in which our airports operate – a 9.9% increase on the previous year.
MAG Bids to Operate Sofia Airport
MAG has announced plans to bid to operate Sofia Airport, Bulgaria’s largest airport, for the next 35 years. MAG is targeting this opportunity because it sees strong potential growth and has confidence that it can use its expertise to deliver a new passenger experience and global route network at Sofia to compete with top tier airports around the world.
Andrew Cowan, Manchester Airport CEO, said:
“It’s pleasing to have had a solid six months at Manchester Airport, where we have shown strong resilience by backfilling the loss of routes and passenger volumes caused by the demise of Monarch last year. Carriers including Jet2.com, easyJet and Ryanair have all added capacity and frequency, allowing us to maintain passenger numbers and the excellent choice of routes offered at Manchester Airport.
“We continue to have a focus on connecting the North to key global long-haul destinations and we were able to announce new routes to Mumbai and Addis Ababa, the first links between the North and the economic heart of India, and sub-Saharan Africa respectively. Looking west, Thomas Cook Airlines also started flights to Seattle in May and has increased frequency for next year already.
“It’s also pleasing that the first phase of our £1bn transformation programme will launch next year as the first new pier opens in April. The new facilities in Terminal Two will not only offer significant additional terminal capacity to allow us to grow further but will also offer a first class passenger experience.
“As the financial year progresses, we continue to make the case for the Government’s forthcoming aviation strategy to focus on connecting passengers to the airports up and down the country quicker and more easily. Northern Powerhouse Rail is key for Manchester Airport and will not just bring the cities of the North closer together, it will also join them all, via the airport, to a range of global cities unrivalled in the North.
“Finally, everyone at the airport took great pride this summer in celebrating our 80th birthday, which saw us engage with a wide range of stakeholders. Not only did it give us the opportunity to reflect on the airport’s growth and history, it gave us chance to look to the future at everything still to come at the UK’s global gateway in the North.”
Charlie Cornish, MAG CEO, said:
“Our airports are nationally significant assets with the ability to deliver the aviation capacity the UK needs in the coming decade, and their continued growth is being supported by significant investment by MAG.
“A real focus this year has been on securing brand new long haul routes from our airports. To this end, the launch of new daily Emirates flights from London Stansted to Dubai on a three-class Boeing 777 was a magnificent moment for both the airport and the wider region. We know that the service is already appreciated by businesses from the London-Cambridge corridor who are now using Stansted to travel east, as well as by leisure passengers from London and across East Anglia.
“Similarly at Manchester, we were able to announce new routes to Mumbai and Addis Ababa. These are the kind of links that will form the backbone of the country’s new trading links when Britain leaves the European Union next year, and at MAG we stand ready to connect all parts of the UK to key long haul markets. At East Midlands Airport, we now facilitate more than £10bn worth of non-EU trade each year.
“As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, we have always been clear that the best result for the aviation industry would be a deal which preserves the liberal flying freedoms and competitive approach to the aviation market that have driven so much important connectivity and economic growth across the continent over the last couple of decades.
“However, we have also welcomed the publication of technical notices from both the UK and the EU which have set out a clear and positive commitment to allowing airlines continued access between the UK and the EU, even in a no deal scenario. The recent signing of an aviation agreement between the UK and the US is further positive news for passengers.”
*Adjusted EBITDA is earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, gains and losses on sales and valuation of investment properties, and significant items
**All comparisons are like-for-like, excluding Bournemouth Airport, which was sold to Rigby Group in December 2017. Additionally, Revenue for the 6 months ended 30 September 2017 have been restated to account for the adoption of IFRS 15 by the Group in the year ended 31 March 2018